27 Sep 2006

Fiji vice president concerned about qoliqoli bill

5:44 pm on 27 September 2006

Fiji's vice president has spoken publicly of his concerns about the government's controversial Qoliqoli Bill.

The Bill will transfer ownership of all foreshore areas to the descendants of their original owners in the 19th century and make it their private property.

Radio Legend quotes Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi as saying that the Qoliqoli Bill must recognize the public interest and allow all the people of Fiji to have access to the beaches for their enjoyment and use of marine resources for food.

Ratu Joni says the lawmakers drafting the Qoliqoli Bill must explore and find the middle ground.

He says the tourism industry has brought many benefits to Fiji - providing foreign exchange, employment and even reviving dying arts - and their interests must also be taken into consideration.

The vice president, who is a senior lawyer and former High Court judge. made the remarks while opening a new resort in the Kadavu group south of Suva.

A parliamentary committee is currently seeking public submissions on the Bill.